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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Russia Expands Its Offense Into Western Ukraine As Russia Requests Military Assistance From China In Ukraine; Police Say, Journalist Brent Renaud Shot And Killed By Russian Forces In Ukraine; Ukraine's Trains Move Desperately Needed Supplies Into The Country And Desperate People Out. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 13, 2022 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening from Lviv, in Western Ukraine.

Tonight, signs that Russia continues to expand the scope of the battlefield hear in the west, nearly to the border of a NATO country and is also looking east to China for support in fighting the war. A consequential night after a day that began with Russian missiles hitting a military base just about 26 miles from here, but a much shorter drive from NATO ally Poland. At least 35 people were killed in the strike.

Late tonight, Ukraine's president reiterating his call for NATO to set up a no-fly zone, invoking the specter of Russia targeting NATO alliance territory.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: If you do not close our sky, it's only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory, NATO territory, on the homes of citizens of NATO countries.


COOPER: Also new tonight, CNN learned that Russia is asking China for military assistance in Ukraine. That's according to a senior American official. We'll have more on that shortly. There is also new video tonight showing Russian tactics that have been leveling the city of Mariupol. It shows a Russian tank firing at an apartment building.

As with so much here, it is tough to watch, tough to take but important to show unsanitized because this is what the war here looks like.

This is a city that has been under intense attack and siege for days now. Mariupol city council says that nearly 2,200 residents have been killed so far in the siege. There are new figures out tonight and the number of Ukrainians who have managed to flee the fighting and leave the country. The U.N. says, so far, it's now approaching 2.7 million people.

New as well tonight, satellite imagery showing a Russian tank stuck in the European river near Kyiv after Ukrainian forces reportedly destroyed it along with a number of other Russian vehicles. Russian forces, as you know, have made only limited progress towards the capital two and a half weeks into the war. In his remarks, President Zelenskyy said he remains convinced that his country will prevail.

He also spoke to the death of an American journalist named Brent Renaud, who was shot and killed today in Irpin. He called it a deliberate attack by the Russian military. A colleague of his was wounded from the hospital. He describes the ordeal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened to you?

JUAN ARREDONDO, PHOTOJOURNALIST: We crossed one of the first bridge in Irpin. We're going to film other refugees leaving. And we got into a car, somebody offered to take us to the other bridge and we crossed checkpoint and they start shooting at us. So, the driver turned around and they kept shooting. It's two of us. My friend is Brent Renaud and he's been shot and left behind.


COOPER: And he has died. In a moment, Renaud has died. Juan Arredondo is recovering.

In a moment, a conversation with The New York Times photojournalist, Lynsey Addario, who knows that the men that you just saw there, Juan, who has been reporting from very near the spot where Mr. Renaud was killed.

Also reporting tonight from CNN's Sam Kiley in Kyiv, CNN's Scott McLean here in Lviv and CNN's Arlette Saenz at the White House. But, first, I want to give you an overview of what has been another significant day here from CNN's Oren Lieberamann starting with the missile strike not far from the Polish border, about 26 miles from here.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The attack on the Yavoriv military base is the closest Russian attack to a NATO member. The barrage of missiles hit just about 11 miles from Poland, killing at least 35 people. according to the Lviv military administration, and wounding more than 100 others. Russia's full-scale invasion grows more destructive by the day.

Near the city of Mykolaiv, on the Black Sea, nine people were killed on a Russian bombardment, according to the regional administration, and satellite images show the city of Mariupol burning.


Russia has besieged the city for days, Ukrainian officials say, leaving hundreds of thousands without power and water. Nearly 2,200 people have been killed there since Russia's invasion began, according to the city council. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says help is on the way if it can get through. ZELENSKYY: Our humanitarian convoy is two hours away with 80 kilometers remaining. We're doing everything possible to fight the resistance of the occupants who block even the Orthodox Church priests who are escorting the convoy with food, water, medication. Ukraine has supplied 100 tons of the basic necessities for its citizens.

LIEBERMANN: Among those killed in the war, American Journalist Brent Renaud. Russian forces shot him outside of Kyiv, according to regional police. Another journalist was wounded.

ARRADONDO: So, the driver turned around and they kept shooting. There's two of us.

LIEBERMANN: The widening attack on Ukraine has not detoured the U.S. and NATO allies from shipping weapons and he equipment that are proven effective at slowing down Russia.

JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVIER: We believe we will continue to be able to flow substantial amounts of military assistance and weapons to the frontlines to help the Ukrainians ensure that Ukraine is a strategic failure for Vladimir Putin.

LIEBERMANN: Multiple rounds of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have lead to few if any breakthroughs. Another round of talks is set for Monday.

WENDY SHERMAN, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: We are seeing some signs of a willingness to have real serious negotiations, but I have to say, as your reporter said, so far, it appears that Vladimir Putin is intent on destroying Ukraine.

LIEBERMANN: Ukraine's resistance has slowed the Russian advance towards the capital city of Kyiv. Russia has so far been unable to encircle the city. Meanwhile, the U.S. is watching for any threat of chemical weapons from Russia in a possible false flag operation.

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: It is of the Russian playbook that that which they accuse you of, they're planning to do. Now, again, we haven't seen anything that indicates some sort of imminent chemical or biological attack but we're watching this very, very closely.

LIEBERMANN: A Russian airstrike Saturday night damaged the Holy Dormition Svyatogorsk Lavra monastery in the Donetsk region, according to Ukraine's parliament. The historic church sheltered more than 500 displaced people, parliament said.

In Kherson, the first major Ukrainian city to fall to Russia, protesters held a mass rally, marching amid armed Russian troops, a brazen show of spirit for Ukraine in Kherson's Svoboda Square, which means Freedom Square.


LIEBERMANN (on camera): The White House approved another $200 million in security assistance to Ukraine. That's in addition to two weeks ago approval of $350 million. So, that's more than half a billion dollars in just a couple of weeks here. And where this used to take weeks or months to get into the country, it's taking days now. Anderson?

COOPER: Oren Liebermann, thanks so much.

I want to go to Sam Kiley, who is standing by in Kyiv tonight. What's it been like there today?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, Anderson, I think you can probably call this today, notwithstanding the tragic loss of a colleague, Brent Renaud, a day of tactical pause, I think, being taken by the Russian invaders. In the last day or so, they have not been attacking Kyiv with the same venom and volume that they had in previous days and analysis of their movements, of the movement of the convoy, that was the logistics coming in up support of the Russians now has been dispersed.

The assumption and, indeed, British and American intelligence have said as much that there is a consolidation going on ahead of what is anticipated to be an attempt to push in from the east of the city, particularly if the Russians are getting reinforcements from further east, from Sumy, and possibly even from Kharkiv, where they came across the borders there, Anderson.

COOPER: So, you're saying the east is now a more likely attempted entrance point?

KILEY: There is clear indications, there is more pressure coming from the northeast of the city and the assumption will be that the Russians try to get a kind of a pincer shape around the capital city. They're in the west, northwest. They've been penetrating, trying to come into the northeast and east.

And, certainly, British intelligence analysis, the minister of defense have indicated that while they consolidate there, the concern is that they may be able to try to sweep around and, if not, cut the roads south, which is the main point of access into and out of Kyiv. They can certainly threaten those routes. They don't have to be that close to routes to shut them down if they're going to be able to attack them with artillery and multiple rocket launching systems.


But that's kind of an analysis in the future.

At the moment, the assumption is, just the next few days, the pressure will increase in the east, maybe continuing to in the northwest, Anderson.

COOPER: Sam, I wonder what you make of the increase in the attacks here in the west. We've seen an airfield attacked in Kuntz (ph). That was -- I think it was yesterday or two days ago just overnight. It was the -- or early this morning, I guess, it was the military base, which is probably the most -- the highest death toll from a direct Russian attack. More than 30 people said to have been killed. And that's obviously an important base right near the Polish border. KILEY: I think it's a very important indicator for two reasons. The first is, obviously, they know about that base. It was the base that was used for the training of Ukrainian forces by British and American instructors before they have withdrawn ahead of this war. It's a place where it's believed that foreign fighter volunteers are also being processed and trained and incorporated into the Ukrainian army.

But above all, Anderson, it was hit very hard with precision-guided missiles fired over a very significant range from almost certainly from inside Russian or Belarusian territory. A very different sort of attack to some of the bombings that we've seen elsewhere in the country, where they're using dumb bombs, much less precise weapons being dropped from fighter jets and fighter bombers particularly in the north of this city. We see almost daily now reports or even video coming from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense of these Second World War-type bombs, dumb bombs being disarmed, those that haven't exploded.

But what happened near where you are are very substantial missile strikes, enormous craters. These are precision strikes using a modern sophisticated missile technology that we haven't seen used in a huge amount of cases around this country but, clearly, that was a significant decision being taken by the Russians to target their area, if nothing else, to send a signal to foreign fighters perhaps that this is a dangerous place to volunteer for even in the training ripping phase, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Arlette Saenz, new reporting tonight Russia is requesting military assistance from China. Has the White House commented on that?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, so far, the White House has not commented on this new development but U.S. officials have said that Russia has requested military equipment and aid from China since their invasion of Ukraine began, a senior U.S. official saying that that includes as request for drones.

Now, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy said that they have not heard of such a request but, of course, this raises serious questions about whether China would comply with such a request. And if they did, what kind of impact that might have on the landscape as Ukrainian forces continue to battle this onslaught from Russia.

Now, additionally, this new development comes as the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, was already set to meet with his Chinese counterpart in Rome tomorrow. The two were expected to discuss the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the impact that would have on global security.

And earlier today, Sullivan did express some concern about the possibility of China helping Russia when it comes to those economic sanctions. He told our colleague, Dana Bash, that there would be consequences if China or any other country were to try to help Russia evade those sanctions. So, we will see whether this new development about this request for military assistance from Russia comes up in that meeting with his Chinese counterpart, as U.S. officials have been quite critical of China's approach when it comes to Russia and this war.

COOPER: Sam, how -- the strikes in the west, how much of that do you think by Russia not only sending a message but also, as you said, perhaps to foreign fighters, even to Poland and NATO countries, but also an attempt to stop possible shipment routes of more weaponry, of more humanitarian aid?

KILEY: Oh, I don't think there is any doubt at all about it. You mentioned early on there, Anderson, that there have been are airstrikes against two airfields. So, I think 24 hours or so before this latest missile strike against the training facility all in the west of the country, all potential movement or nodes that would receive aid but also distribute military aid, in particular, coming out of the air fields.

Of course, airfields are used by drones and other fighter jets that the Ukrainians are still managing to fly in the air above their country. So, very important and a signal -- not a signal, I mean, a direct statement that aid coming in, whether it is certain military aid, and the Russians have said this, that any military aid coming in will be seen as a legitimate target.


But vague as to whether or not it would be considered a legitimate target when still on NATO soil. But the moment it crosses the border into Ukraine, as far as Russians are concerned, it would be fair game for continued strikes.

The real issue would be what is the capacity of the Russians to hit those sorts of things. Are they moving, for example, in trucks, in similar vehicles? Do the Russians have the similar capability? Why are they asking for Chinese drones, for example? It's easier to patrol skies if you can keep a drone up for a sustained period of time. We've seen drones used by Ukrainians to really very spectacular effect against the incoming Russian armor. Anderson?

COOPER: Sam Kiley in Kyiv, Arlette Saenz in Washington, thank you so much.

Coming up next, the killing of journalist Brent Renaud, my conversation with fellow journalist and New York Times Photographer Lynsey Addario has been reporting and documenting what she has been seeing as Brent did in civilians fleeing in Irpin.

And later, keeping the trains running with so much and so many riding on the job they do, how they keep hope alive for millions now trying to get somewhere, anywhere safe.


COOPER: At the top of the program, Journalist Juan Arradondo, you saw him describing some of the moments when he believes Russian forces shot him and his colleague, Brent Renaud, who were covering the human consequences of this war. When the shooting was over, Juan was wounded, Renaud had been killed. This war has taken such a human toll in so little time. The photos we're showing right now speak to that, whether it's the elderly in Iprin trying to get out, or the very youngest being taken to safety but also being taken from their friends and often their fathers.

These photos are the work of New York Times Photojournalist Lynsey Addario. I spoke to her earlier.


COOPER: Lynsey, I understand you didn't know Journalist Brent Renaud, who was killed in Irpin, you do know his colleague, Juan Arradondo, who was injured. I believe he was in surgery. I'm not sure if he still is. Do you know much about what happened to them?

LYNSEY ADDARIO, PHOTOJOURNALIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I do not. And I think it's important to underline that we don't know what happened to them.


I mean, this is an incredibly dangerous situation. Going into Irpin is very dangerous because any journalist who goes in there has to walk across the bridge, walk about a kilometer and essentially hitchhike a ride with any one of the vans or vehicles that are evacuating citizens. So, you don't really know who is driving you, so a lot can go wrong. And I think it's important to underline that we have no idea what really happened and we won't know until Juan comes out of surgery and he's lucid again.

COOPER: You photographed several days ago a funeral for a soldier. The pictures were very personal, very -- I can't imagine how difficult it was to be there. And, I mean, for all those people, the girlfriend, I believe it was the fiancee of the soldier who was killed was clearly just, I mean, obviously, just devastated. What was that like?

ADDARIO: Well, actually, the marine who was killed was a friend of Andre (ph) ,the colleague that I'm working with. And we were sort of driving around and talking about things and I said, do you know of any funerals? Because I feel like a lot -- we're seeing a lot of funerals coming out of Lviv and very few here in Kyiv. And he said, actually, a friend of mine is being buried today, and I said would you mind calling and seeing if it's okay. And it was so intimate and so personal.

And we went first to the morgue to meet the family, to meet the fiancee and the mother and, of course, they were sort of inconsolable and they were devastated. And we just wanted to introduce ourselves and make sure it was okay to be there. It was such an intimate setting.

The mother and the fiancee insisted on the casket being open and the soldier had been shot in the head. And it was quite graphic and very intimate because there were just, you know, about a dozen soldiers in the room. They had -- they transferred his body to a cemetery.

And there was -- I have never been to a Ukrainian funeral before so, of course, with every country I work in, there's a whole different ritual of death. And so I don't know what the boundaries are, I don't know what the rituals. I'm trying to be respectful, trying to learn. I don't want to bother Andre (ph) too much because it's his friend who has died. So, it was all sort of very tough and we were really in a small intimate space.

And so as you can see, I mean, the mother leaned down and held the face of her son and kissed him and the fiancee was just devastated. I mean, their life was about to start and now it's over.

COOPER: Yes, that -- I could tell in the picture the mother bending down to kiss her son, clearly, he had been terribly, physically, badly wounded. But it's so human that a mother who brought a child into the world still hugging and kissing her child no matter what at the end. Just the mother's strength in that photo to me is just -- it's just so universal.

ADDARIO: Of course. I mean, that's sort of -- that's why it's so important to document these moments because these are people. These are human beings and we can't forget that. And, you know, today we lost a colleague and my condolences to his family and his loved ones and everyone who knew him. And I think it's important to note that this is happening day in and day out to civilians who are non- combatants and also to fighters.

COOPER: There is also new life in Kyiv, and I want to show a photo you took for a story in The New York Times about babies being born to surrogates who are living in a basement right now in Kyiv. There are 19 babies in total. Is there any hope of getting them out? Can you tell us about what you saw?

ADDARIO: I mean, I'm not sure about the hope of getting them out. I think that's in the works. So, I think I have personally received a few emails since that story ran and I've -- all I can do is put people in touch with Maria, who wrote the story, as well as Andrew Kramer, and let them take it from there.

But I have to say that it was just this incredible sort of haven of beauty and life amidst this devastation that I've been witnessing every single day. And, you know, we've talked about the surrogacy story since I arrived because Ukraine is such a place where a lot of people go for surrogacy. And so the timing just wasn't right.

And a few days ago when we did the story and descended down the stairs and walked into the room, I didn't anticipate seeing sort of 19 newborns in one room in numbered cribs and they were all so -- you know, so beautiful and happy.


I mean, the beauty of newborns, of course, is they have no idea what is going on around them. The world can be falling apart but they just have to be cared for and these nannies who were like angels who were just tending to them and staying behind to make sure they were fed and changed and cared for and so it was just this sort of beautiful scene of love and life. COOPER: Extraordinary. You think the first days of these baby's lives, which they will not remember, what they have, I pray, survived and lived through without even having the memory of it. The pictures are just, really, and the story extraordinary. Lynsey Addario, thank you so much.

ADDARIO: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: If you want to see more of Lynsey's pictures and reporting on what is going on here, you can go to The New York Times website.

More now on the kind of war further Russia is conducting, the growing geographic reach of it, the threat it could pose to the NATO alliance.

Joining us is former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, retired Army Four Star General Wesley Clark.

General Clark, the attack last night on a military base about 26 miles from here, less than a dozen miles from Poland, how significant is that? U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan today said that if any strike, whatsoever, from Russia made it into a NATO country, it would, quote, bring the full force of the NATO alliance to bear in responding to it. What does that actually mean?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET)., FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Well, first of all, we don't know exactly what was at the base and I don't want to ask. And I'm glad I don't know but that was a NATO base set up as a NATO training area 25 years ago in Ukraine. And the attack apparently was targeted because a junior Ukrainian diplomat took a social media photo that identified the time and location and had all this stuff in the background and that was seized on by the Russians who quickly got some long range targeting into that.

It shows a lot of things. Number one, it shows the sensitivity of trying to get supplies and additional reinforcements in, number two, that Russia will attempt to interdict these, number three, that there's people on the Ukrainian side who weren't appropriately sensitive to critical intelligence information, and number four, it shows that Russia is determined to push out to the very limits.

And now, when you add the request for Chinese troops in there and you think about how the administration's strategy has evolved, that NATO has evolved, you realize what a boiling pot of difficulty this is for the west.

Just think, it was only nine months ago that President Biden asked Mr. Putin to be a responsible citizen of the world and then play ball and be a stable partner. And now we got a situation where it's a horrible humanitarian tragedy, NATO is on guard but standing back. There are efforts to get reinforcements in and supplies in. But Mariupol has got tanks that are penetrated in there, their shelling of civilian buildings, there's bombing strikes and now Putin has asked China to intervene. Where does this end? How do we -- COOPER: General, let me ask you. Because the last time you were on the program, you made the point that for those people who are watching this thinking, well, wait until this becomes a guerilla war and then Russian forces will get pounded.

You made the point that more needs to be done now before it ever gets to be a guerilla war because there are a lot of different factors in a guerilla fight that may be at play and the Russian strategy may be to pound cities into oblivion before it ever even gets the a guerilla war. So, what more needs to be done now?

CLARK: Well, I think we've got to really take some higher level of risk to get the Javelins and Stingers in. I can't see exactly the right procedures. I know we're trying to do this. I know the Ukrainians are trying to do it. Do they have the air cover they need?

Can we not get them the MiGs in there that are needed? They have a few dozen aircraft maybe to say that another 30 aircraft or 25 wouldn't make any difference, that's non-sense. Can we get them better air defense? And can we please stop talking about Putin's red lines and start thinking about our own red lines and how long we're going to keep going.

I'll tell you another thing, Anderson. We need to go to the United Nations. How can the United Nations watch something like this happening and not do something?


Where else in the world the United Nations takes action? Setup blue helmets in there, call for a cease-fire, get humanitarian assistance in. Is the United Nations completely bankrupt in this case because of Russia? And if so, what does that mean to the whole rule-based order that the president and his team are trying to make sure we protect? If we don't protect it here, how are we going to protect it in Taiwan or even with NATO?

So, there are some huge, looming questions and we can't wish them away by saying, let's give a few more Stingers and Javelins, just do what we're doing and, hopefully, these brave Ukrainians can make this work. We have to -- we have got days to make the critical decisions on how to strengthen the Ukrainian defense. If it's gone, it's gone and it's a whole new world.

COOPER: General Wesley Clark, I appreciate your time tonight, as always. Thank you so much.

Coming up next, how they keep the training running in this country during a war. It is critical to get people out despite the frequency and the ferocity of Russian attacks. They've been a vital link both to get supplies in and, as I said, refugees out. More on that, ahead.


COOPER: A few hour drive from that deadly airstrike, Russian airstrike near the Polish border on the side of Lviv. Our Scott McLean met the people who have helped run one of the most vital systems for this country's continued independence, the rail system.

Now, despite the intensity of the Russian attacks, the trains have continued to run throughout much of the country carrying supplies and women and children trying to get out or trying to move somewhere to safety and increasing the odds of Ukraine survival.

CNN's Scott McLean has more.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The first light in Ternopil, Ukraine is the rising sun. The city's lights have been kept off since the war began, more than two weeks that have exhausted, overwhelmed and completely up ended normal life.


But through it all, Ukraine's rail network has kept running. Every morning, the railway's executives, led by 37-year-old Oleksandr Kamyshin, gather for a morning call, no cell phones, no Zoom, just a soviet-era closed circuit phone system that connects every station.

It won't stay here long. They can't. They believe they're a prime Russian target.

OLEKSANDR KAMYSHIN, CHAIRMAN, UKRAINIAN RAILWAY: The strategy is to move fast so that they don't catch you.

MCLEAN: How long can you stay in one place?


MCLEAN: Instead, their work managing 231,000 employees continues on a single car train headed west, for now. Often, their work is aboard ordinary passenger trains to blend in with the masses. Since the war began, they've been in near constant motion, crisscrossing the country to keep the Russians guessing.

The decision to leave the headquarters in Kyiv was made in the early morning hour of February 24th. Kamyshin snapped one last picture with his two young kids, one still asleep.

Are they still in Ukraine? How does that make you feel?

KAMYSHIN: For me, it's easier when they know that they are safe and I have time to do my job.

MCLEAN: The country's rail network, one of the largest in the world, has been a lifeline in war, moving desperately needed supplies in and desperate people out of danger, more than 2 million since the invasion began.

Schedules are drawn up the night before and changed in response to panic scenes, like this one in Kharkiv, or in Lviv, in the early days of war.

How on earth have people been able to use the trains in a war zone?

KAMYSHIN: That's something which is surprising for the whole country and for the president, as well.

MCLEAN: Surprising because, every day, the network is hit by Russian bombs. Small damage breaks the link between cities temporarily, a downed bridge indefinitely. Near Kharkiv, an undetonated bomb fell right next to the tracks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are reacting and repairing a railway even under artillery shelling every day. Unfortunately, some of my colleagues have been killed and injured during shelling.

MCLEAN: 33 killed, 24 injured and counting.

The difficulty working aboard a moving train is the cell phone signal is not always great. Now, they do have Star Link internet systems now courtesy of Elon Musk, but they barely ever turn them on because they say it makes it easier for the Russians to target their location.

The Russians have taken control of rail links in cities, like besieged Mariupol, Sumy, Kherson and Chernihiv. But for now, all of the major hubs are still connected by Ukrainian rail.

How bad would it be if the Russians took these major stations?

KAMYSHIN: Really bad. Don't ask me how bad, but really bad.

MCLEAN: When the train reaches Lviv, Kamyshin makes a quick visit to the main station, and more calls and meetings and a message for the rest of the world.

KAMYSHIN: What we can do we already do. What west can do, close the sky and all the rest, we would do ourselves.


COOPER: You mentioned their location in that. Obviously we're always very aware of the safety of the people that we are talking to. They're clearly not in that location anymore.

MCLEAN (on camera): Exactly. So, we shot the story 48 hours ago. By now, they are long gone to their next location undisclosed location. What's interesting is they actually say that they were offered a place in President Zelenskyy's bunker at the outset of the war but they turned it down because they didn't think that they could adequately keep tabs on the system.

And so now, their travels actually take them to some of the most dangerous part of the system. Their logic being that if we expect employee to show up there, then we should too, really, but it is dangerous. Obviously, I mentioned the story, 33 employees killed. The latest was just on Saturday.

COOPER: Yes. It's a remarkable their able to still help so many people out. Scott McLean, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Just ahead, with attacks taking place dangerously close to NATO territory, we're going to have analysis of Vladimir Putin's strategy and his increasingly violent campaign Ukraine's civilians from Garry Kasparov. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Tonight, we've discussed the ways that Vladimir Putin has chosen to broaden this war. Now, for the starters, there is the attack near the Polish border that has expanded the war dangerously close to a NATO ally, then the report from CNN quoting a senior U.S. official that Russia has asked China for military assistance and, of course, there are images like this of a tank taking aim at a building and a war getting more violent as it is being directed against civilians.

I'm joined now by Garry Kasparov, a Russian pro-democracy Leader, former World Chess Champion. He's also the Author of Winter is Coming by Vladimir Putin and the Enemies in the Free World Must Be Stopped. Quite a precise title there, winter has certainly come to Ukraine.

You say that Putin doesn't want de-escalation. The world now sees him expanding the attacks into Western Ukraine hitting two airfields, at least and this military base near the polish border. Do you think he wants a conflict with NATO?

GARRY KASPAROV, RUSSIAN PRO-DEMOCRACY LEADER: He doesn't want a military confrontation because he knows he'll lose but he believes that NATO will duck, NATO will waffle, NATO will walk away, as they always did.

So, I wrote the book that you mentioned seven years ago and everyone thought I was crazy because even when Putin attacked the Republic of Georgia in 2008 or annexed Crimea in 2014, so we heard these voices, oh, let's be pragmatic, you know, let's be prudent, let's not be overemotional. And Putin kept winning.

And now he is pushing even further and he is using his last bluff, a nuclear blackmail. Even it works in Ukraine, why did he stopped using it for Poland or Lithuania, because dictators never ask why, they always asked, why not? And what we see now from Washington and other western capitals is cowardice in favor of these guys with Putin.

COOPER: I talked to a woman, Eleyna Genes (ph), whose husband was volunteering to fight. She's sitting in a shelter tonight in a basement, in a building with her three children and she's been there really since the start of the war in Kyiv. And one of the things she said to me is she thinks that NATO, that the west is more scared of Vladimir Putin than the Ukrainians are. Do you think that at times?

KASPAROV: Absolutely. Ukrainians are not scared of anything now. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukrainians, they have plenty of courage but they don't have enough weapons. NATO has plenty of weapons but not enough courage.


And I wonder if NATO is afraid of Putin of its own shadow, because I think they all recognize if Putin's decides to use nuclear blackmail against Lithuania or Poland, against a NATO country, so they will have to be involved, unless they want to disband. Again, I don't know.

So, what's the difference? You know, was this threat of military confrontation with Russia in Ukraine or on the borders, on territories of NATO countries? There's only one difference, Ukraine army is still alive and is still fighting.

And you just heard a few minutes ago, before my interview, you heard Ukrainians saying, close the skies, we'll do the job. I've no doubt that Ukrainians cannot just only inflict damage on Putin's war machine, they can destroy them if they're given adequate support.

COOPER: You know, I've talked to some of Ukrainians who have relatives in Russia, their parents, their siblings, and those parents or siblings do not believe what is happening to their own children, to their own brothers or sisters here in Ukraine.

And it's very easy to say that, you know, they're brainwashed, they have disinformation, they've been watching biased media for their entire lives. Is that all that is? Or a lot of Ukrainian have now said to me, you know, they think that there's -- that you can't give them that out all the time, that there's a lot of Russians who simply agree with what Vladimir Putin is doing here.

KASPAROV: I couldn't argue with this point. Yes, many Russian's agree. So there's the -- we have some data that suggest that about 30 percent of Russians who support Putin, about the same amount is against him, and about 40 percent is in the middle, in panic, in terror, in apathy.

Again, it's very approximate evaluation of the numbers in Russia, because no polling, no internet and no real way to verify it. But it sound right when you look at the total lack optimism from ordinary people, no celebrations after annexation of Crimea in 2014, and many protests, hundreds and hundreds of people being arrested every day, and thousands are still coming to the street protesting as there were knowing that they will be beaten, detained and most likely spend a long time behind bars.

But it's also, I think, for many Russian, they do not believe their Ukrainian relatives. It's not just the fact that Russia is showing faith on television and they believe that ever seeing that we show is a fake. I think there's a psychological rejection of truth. Because if they accept the truth, they have to act, and not so many people have courage because, again, they know that those who protesting in Russia now, they will be treated very harshly by Putin's regime.

COOPER: So, what do you believe NATO should do?

KASPAROV: It's as a minimum, no-fly-zone, absolute minimum. There's more to come but, you know, let's start with this. And, again, I want to see how many Russian pilots who will try to become kamikaze. It's one thing for Putin to give an order and other one for those who have to carry it, to put their lives at stake.

So, there's no way to avoid this confrontation. It's not if NATO confronts Putin in the skies of Ukraine or nearby, or on the ground, it's only when. It is better to start now, to do it in our terms and to wait before Putin wages the war against the rest of the world on his terms because there will be no way out if he attacks NATO countries.

COOPER: Garry Kasparov, I appreciate your time, as always, thank you.

KASPAROV: Thank you very much.

COOPER: As families flee a war zone, some members of the Ukrainian family in America have chosen to go here to help because they couldn't just watch.

Gary Tuchman just spoke to some of their anxious love ones who stayed behind about their sacrifice. That's next.



COOPER: Well refugees mostly women and children have been flooding out of Ukraine since Russia's invasion began. Well, some Ukrainian immigrant in American have chosen to go back to come back to Ukraine to help.

CNN's Gary Tuchman spoke with the family in Pennsylvania who are temporarily missing a dad, a brother and a husband, who all felt the calling to assist here in the war effort.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At this house in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, these Ukrainian-American family members give each other comfort. All of these adults left Ukraine for America more than two decades ago. But once this war started, things changed. Yuliya Penchak husband, Andre (ph), has gone back to Ukraine, gone back to help his native country.

Y. PENCHAK, UKRAINIAN-AMERICAN: I don't have any more tears left. I feel like I've cried them all out. It's very emotional.

TUCHMAN: But Yuliya's husband did not go alone. Her 62-year-old father, Valentin, flew with him, and they both met up with her younger brother, Arson (ph), who recently married.

So in this room, (INAUDIBLE) and Mikaela (ph) Penchak are the parents of Yuliya's husband, and Yuliya's mother, Oleskandra Drobakha, has her husband and son in Ukraine. It's complicated and sometimes overwhelming.

OLESKANDRA DROBAKHA, UKRAINIAN-AMERICAN: I'm proud for my son, for my husband, for my son-in-law, for all of Ukraine, I'm proud. TUCHMAN: Before Yuliya's husband, Andre (ph), flew to Ukraine, he was presented with helmets and bulletproof vest by one of the local police department. Andre (ph) and his two relatives are now part of supply distribution network to Ukrainian.

Yuliya, her family and friends, arranged for cases of supplies to be flown into Poland several days a week. Andre (ph) and his two family members pick up the supplies and drive them across the border to Ukraine and distribute them. They also drive refugees from Ukraine to Poland.

Y. PENCHAK: We have pack like armor vests, helmets, gauze, tourniquets, two-way of radios, medicines.

TUCHMAN: They're primary location for delivering the items, the Ukrainian military base that was just hit by a deadly Russian attacked. When she heard about the attack, Yuliya was extremely frightened.

Y. PENCHAK: I started calling. I couldn't think. I feel like I had white noise in my ears.

TUCHMAN: A short time later, she heard from her husband. They were all okay. But the fears for her family, which include cousins in the Ukrainian army and her fears for Ukrainian civilians have resulted in --

Y. PENCHAK: Panic attacks, unfortunately. Just unbelievable sadness and sorrow for the suffering.

TUCHMAN: Yuliya and Andre's (ph) three children are nine, seven and three. Their parents are very up front with them about what's going on.

Do you think your dad is brave?


TUCHMAN: How come?

Z. PENCHAK: Because he went to Ukraine and there is a big war there.

TUCHMAN: Are you worried about him?


TUCHMAN: Like you're a good daughter to be worried about him. But he promised you he'll be okay, right?


TUCHMAN: And that makes you feel good?


TUCHMAN: Before we leave, Yuliya tries to call her husband, but there's no answer. She knows he's probably just fine, but, once again, she worries and hopes for a callback soon.

Y. PENCHAK: I'll keep watching Ukrainian soldiers telling us that they're winning, and telling us that everything will be over soon.

[21:55: 07]

So, this is what gives me strength, and I don't fall spiraling to this panic.

TUCHMAN: Do you believe that in your heart that it will be over soon and victory will be Ukraine's.

Y. PENCHAK: Victory will be Ukrainians. I believe that with all my heart. I hope it will be over soon.


COOPER: And Gary Tuchman joins us now. Is it known how long the three men will stay here in Ukraine?

TUCHMAN (on camera): Anderson, Yuliya tells us the airline tickets she bought her husband and her father have a return date for a week from Saturday, a little less than two weeks now, but she says if there is a need, they intend to stay longer. With regards to his brother, I mentioned that he just got married, the woman he married lives in Ukraine, has never been to the United States, has not been able yet to get the U.S. visa. So, for the time being, they plan on staying in Ukraine. Anderson?

COOPER: We wish them the best. Gary Tuchman, I appreciate that.

Russia striking dangerously close to NATO's frontline today at a military base near Poland, as you just heard about more in Gary's piece, of forces move closer to the capital of Kyiv.

We'll be back in a moment with the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on where he sees this war may be heading. Stay with us.


COOPER: From the United Nations, a staggering nearly 2.7 million people have now been forced to flee Ukraine. Several million more are now displaced within the country. Others are trapped in cities under siege.

A maternity hospital has been bombed, one of at least 30 healthcare facilities attacked so far, according to the World Health Organization. People unable to get medical treatment or in many cases even get the medicine they need to survive.

All wars stress and sometimes damage a country's healthcare system, but few have burdened it so heavily in so little time, so deliberately, and this one has.

I want to get some perspective now from Alex Wade. He is the Emergency Director for MSF, Doctors Without Borders.

Alex, you've been in Ukraine for weeks now and I know you've been doing this work for years.


I know you just arrived in the city of Dnipro. What this situation like there?